After some initial issues (mentioned in the original post), I received an e-mail from Eric Johnson, who works for CallWave. CallWave teams with Gizmo Project to help offer the Area 775 service. Eric held my hand through several of the problems, even though it seemed Gizmo Project/SIPPhone actually was the responsible party. He continued to answer some questions for me over the course of the next two months.
Unfortunately, even in consideration of the personal attention I received, I cancelled that service this week. There were two main reasons why: 1) I occasionally experienced dropped calls when answering an incoming call (whether via my cell, when it forwarded or via Gizmo Project). 2) My incoming calls were limited to 60 minutes (I had several long phone calls where I got disconnected).
In conclusion, I think CallWave is doing some great stuff (check out CallWave for your Cell Phone) and I don’t really blame them completely for what happened. I’m still a fan of Gizmo Project but it’s hard to resist free outgoing calls and the network effect Skype has (i.e., more people I know are using it).
That’s why I’m now giving Skype a larger opportunity. I’ve used Skype in the past but not as a main phone option for my business. One of the reasons for this choice is that they are currently offering free outgoing U.S. calls through the end of the year. Of course, I need a way for traditional phones (landline or otherwise) to reach me, so I also signed up for a SkypeIn number and have paid $12 for three months of service.
There are some very cool new Skype phones out right now. Mike Rundle of Business Logs mentioned Netgear’s new WiFi Skype phone (begin drooling now). With this little diddy, you can make Skype calls wherever there is open WiFi access (and considering SkypeOut is free for the remainder of the year, that’s a pretty good deal, even though it currently costs $299 – $249 through Amazon). No need to connect to a computer or anything. A comment on the blog also mentioned the Linksys CIT 200, which seems neat and retails at $99 (see details at BestBuy).
I’ve put a Skype badge up on my site and opted to integrate my presence too. That’s good news for Skype and non-Skype users alike, since I am now using a SkypeIn number that traditional phones can also reach me on. Essentially, anyone can check that indicator and depending on the status, know if I am available for a call or not (yes, that can be a good and a bad thing).